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TRAVELOGUE: Is a Train Bistro or a Classic Diner Car Better in Norway?

TRAVELOGUE: Is a Train Bistro or a Classic Diner Car Better in Norway?
photo: RAILTARGET/TRAVELOGUE: Is a Train Bistro or a Classic Diner Car Better in Norway?
25 / 08 / 2023

The exclusive summer rail travelogue RAILTARGET continues with the second part. After a short anabasis beyond the Arctic Circle, we soon found ourselves in Trondheim, where we spent one day again. From Norway's third largest city, we took another long-distance train to Lillehammer. On this trip, we were able to use a dining car for the first time on a trip to Norway, which is important for a bistro.

Since we arrived in Trondheim rather late, we decided to at least explore the local train station. It is made up of two buildings: the old one, which now functions for commercial purposes, and the new one, which functions as a classic station building. There, you will find a shop with local food, lockers for luggage storage, toilets where you pay only by card, and classic groceries. Tickets can be bought from both machines and the ticket office. All necessary signs are in Norwegian and English.

Old station building in Trondheim

The city of Trondheim is historic and, having been the capital of Norway for some time, is worth a visit. It is very pedestrian friendly, with traffic lights turning green almost immediately, except when a public transport vehicle approaches.

Unit manufactured by AD Trans

After our tour of Trondheim, we headed to Lillehammer. The SJ Nord train, with a scheduled departure at 15.23 hrs from Trondheim, served us well for our transfer. The unit that transported us was made by AD Trans, which gradually came under the control of the French company Alstom, which still owns it today. The design of this electric unit is made for speeds of up to 210 km/h. Inside it is, of course, a large-space solution with a 2+2 seat layout in first class, called premium, and second class. Perhaps the only noticeable difference (apart from the extra legroom) between the first and second class is that the premium compartment has a free hot drinks machine and bottled water while in the second class, you have to pay to use the coffee machine. A working power outlet and Wi-Fi connection are practically a given.

Seating arrangement 2+2

However, the biggest attraction for us on the whole trip was the dining car, a bistro offering the option to walk to your seat to get your food. The difference is quite simple but important at the same time. Because of Norwegian law, if the dining car is part of the train, you are not allowed to take alcoholic beverages to your permanent seat and can only consume those in the car, which is why it is usually unusually full, whereas, in the bistro, you can enjoy your beer in peace at your permanent seat. We were lucky in this case, as it was a bistro with incredibly friendly service and equally good food. The non-slip mats we were given under our plates proved to be very effective.

Norwegian bistro car

Travel tip: You can view the menu on the train using a QR code, which is available at all seats.